One K left in Reykjavik

3/20/2004 – Facing 2700 Nigel Short in the second round was a poor reward for Aronian's top seeding. The Englishman won to move into the semifinals. He is joined by Kasparov, Nielsen, and Dreev, who knocked out Karpov despite the elder K's first-ever King's Indian Defense. Report and games.

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Toward a 1993 rematch?

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Semifinal pairings – Sat. March 20
(Player on left has white in first game. Player in bold advances. Tie matches go to sudden death blitz.)

Garry Kasparov Peter Heine Nielsen
Alexei Dreev Nigel Short

Round two results – Fri. March 19

Nigel Short Levon Aronian
½-½
1-0
Jan Timman Garry Kasparov
½-½
0-1
Peter Heine Nielsen Emil Sutovsky
1-0
½-½
Anatoly Karpov Alexei Dreev
0-1
½-½

What would it take to get Anatoly Karpov to play the King's Indian for the first time in his long career? How about a must-win situation against super-solid Alexey Dreev in a KO rapid tournament? After losing the first game with white, the 12th world champion played a rather un-Karpovian Benoni/KID structure against Dreev's Samisch.

Karpov has never been the type to tempt the fates with the black pieces, preferring to rely on his immense talent rather than play for a win and memorize the sharpest lines as the second player. When defending against 1.d4 he has never gone in for the in-again, out-again fashionista defenses like the Grunfeld and King's Indian. He simply always plays 2...e6! Perhaps with the KID currently out of favor it is a good time for Karpov to spring it on someone.

It certainly worked to good effect against Dreev. Karpov got an advantage and then a completely winning position. Equalizing the match looked like just a matter of time, and it was. But it was the time on Karpov's clock that decided; the veteran blundered away everything and had to take a draw.

Thusly Dreev went through to the semifinals to face Nigel Short, who beat top qualifier Lev Aronian with black in the second game. Then when Kasparov smoothly dispatched Timman it left us a round away from a possible rematch of the 1993 world championship match in the final. In order for this flashback dream final to occur Kasparov will also have to get through the tough Peter Heine Nielsen. The Dane has never faced Kasparov before, but will have what is close to a home crowd on his side.

Kasparov - Timman, game 2, after 25...Qxc4

The world #1 got a quick draw with black in the first game. He converted the second rather easily here after Timman took a poisoned pawn.

26.Bxe4 Rxe4 27.f3 forks and wins at least the exchange. Timman gave up the knight instead but resigned a few moves later.

27...Qxf1+ [27...Qxc3 28.bxc3 Rxd4 29.cxd4 Ne3+-] 28.Rxf1 Rxc3 29.bxc3 Re3 30.fxg4 Rxc3 31.Rf3 1-0

Round one results – Thu. March 18

Helgi Olafsson Levon Aronian
0-1
0-1
Magnus Carlsen Garry Kasparov
½-½
0-1
Igor-Alexander Nataf Emil Sutovsky
0-1
0-1
Margeir Petursson Alexey Dreev
0-1
½-½
Hannes Stefansson Anatoly Karpov
1-0
0-1
Vladimir Epishin Peter Heine Nielsen
0-1
0-1
Johann Hjartarson Jan Timman
0-1
½-½
Nigel Short Stefan Kristjansson
½-½
1-0

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